Cedars poll highlights toxic working environments in British universities that REF’s focus on research culture aims to tackle
One in five research staff in UK universities have faced bullying or harassment in the past two years, a major survey has found.
This opinion piece from the UK highlights a point of relevance to research institutions around the globe. An individual cannot be a research superstar if they are also a bully or a harasser. This is true irrespective of the amount of research dollars they bring in, their number of published outputs, or what they do for an institution’s reputation. The reluctance of institutions to act promptly and decisively on allegations of bullying and harassment is another demonstration of how their conflicts of interest compromise their ability to self-regulate in handling alleged breaches and misconduct.
Women are also less likely to report incidents of bullying or harassment, with 59 per cent saying they would feel comfortable doing so compared with 70 per cent of men, according to the survey carried out by Vitae, part of the Careers Research & Advisory Centre (Crac).
Female staff are less likely to trust the investigatory process regarding bullying, with 45 per cent stating they did not trust or did not know whether to trust formal procedures on bullying compared with 37 per cent of men.
The publication of the Cedars data on 7 September comes amid increased discussion about the importance of having a healthy research culture in UK universities, with Research England and the other funding councils for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland intending to increase the weighting of research environment in the REF 2028 to the same level as impact – 25 per cent.